On my calendar for today: many phone calls, and also a spot of time for planning the next week. In my talks (including my TED talk) I suggest people plan their upcoming weeks on Friday afternoons. I also suggest creating a 3-category priority list for the week: career, relationships, self. The reason to do this is that it is pretty hard to create a 3-category list and then leave one (or more) of the categories blank. This little hack will, right there, nudge you to plan a more balanced life.
This is one of those areas where I usually do take my own advice (I don't always…what can I say). This week has been, and will continue to be, pretty good on that front.
I had a couple professional priorities: turning in the next round of edits on Off the Clock, which has now gone to copy-editing, writing 6000 words in my fable, being on a panel for the Room to Grow "Power Breakfast" in NYC on Wednesday morning (which involved the lovely Deborah Roberts and Lauren Smith Brody) and planning a few more podcast episodes.
On the personal front, I wanted to go for a run in Central Park on Wednesday morning (since I was in the city overnight). Knowing I wanted to do this motivated me to set my alarm for 6:25 a.m., even though I was in a hotel room and could have slept for another hour before my event. (The fact that I went to bed at 9:25 p.m. also made this seem quite doable. Going to bed early is how grown-ups sleep in). I was rewarded with absolutely gorgeous autumn scenery. I ran past the grand stand — still there! — where Shalene Flanagan won the marathon last weekend.
Also on the personal front: I have plans to go to a concert given by the staff singers at my church on Sunday afternoon. I made sure to talk about this with my husband last week, so he knows to expect me to leave at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday. (Of course, he may have forgotten. But he was told!)
On the relationships front, I got together with my little brother for dinner in NYC on Tuesday night. Szechuan food and beer. It was great! I also hosted playdates for my older boys on Tuesday, which they had off from school. (The playdates were in the morning; I left for NYC on the 3:25 p.m. train).
(I am also working on the new activity schedule for the new activity season but…this is a work in progress. Why does my 8-year-old's swim group have to practice at the exact same time as his age group for wrestling??? Then I met with the designer who will work on my kitchen, living room, and master bathroom. This doesn't fall neatly into any of the categories…but it is a priority of some type.)
Various other stuff came up, both personally and professionally, that I had to deal with. Life was not all roses this week by any means. One example: the 2-year-old was up from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. Monday night (technically early Tuesday morning). He also woke up at 4 a.m. last night. I turned on a movie and got another hour of sleep. But having a relatively limited list of things I KNEW I wanted to get to meant they happened. Especially with something semi-speculative, like the fable, putting it on the priority list is key. I did 2000 words on Monday, 1500 on Tuesday, 500 on Wednesday, and 2000 on Thursday. On all those days, I actually stopped as soon as I hit the word count. I could have written more but I believe in the 20-mile march concept (which I think is from Built to Last?) Doing less than you could somedays means you can push yourself to do a little more than you think you can other days. Being willing to leave a little bit on the table means you can keep going. And ultimately, it is the long-term consistency that leads to things happening.
Now, on to planning the next week. Sarah and I are recording 4 podcast episodes, 3 of which feature guests. I'm giving a short (and thankfully local) talk one evening. I plan to write another 7000 words in the fable. I plan to get my 2-year-old's application for preschool filled out (!) as soon as I get the printer working. My daughter doesn’t have school one of the days so I'm pondering taking her out for breakfast. I'm still debating the personal priority for the week. I might try to get that long fall foliage run in that I didn't quite manage on my fall fun list. Or I might aim to do a speed work session. Or order those darn photos from the beach photo session this past summer! Or maybe the Christmas card? I'm not sure. Once I decide something is on the priority list it does generally happen, so I need to make sure I'm selective about what goes on the list. Because life does come up…
How do you plan your weeks?